Cherish Lee is quickly becoming known as country music’s “rebel with a heart of gold.” Cherish has always had a heart to help others, but refuses to play by some of the country music industry’s biggest rules. “I refuse to pay money to make it on the music charts. I want it to happen, because I worked my ass off, and people actually want to hear my songs! What happened to passion, story telling, rebels with a cause, and music that had its merits in how damn good it was, and how it made you feel? Our forefathers in music would be ashamed of us.”
Cherish has seen how hard the business is first hand through her father, Johnny Lee (country music legend, Urban Cowboy’s “Lookin’ For Love”) and mother, Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing on hit TV show, “DALLAS”). She quickly gained her own recognition as a singer and songwriter in Music City. “Nashville has been so incredibly gracious to me. I’ve written with the most beautiful and talented writers, performed at the infamous Bluebird Cafe, the prestigious Tin Pan South Songwriter Festival. I’ve also performed with my Papa Bear at The Ryman Auditorium and The Grand Ole Opry, along with so many other bad ass venues around town. I met my husband here, our precious baby was born here, I’ve recorded my album here! I owe so much to this city. I can’t get over how people just want to up lift you and champion you here!”
I spoke with Cherish on her start in music, creating her own brand in the music business, her advice for aspiring artists and family supporting her to live her dreams.
Q. Can you tell me how you found your passion for music and decided to make it a career?
A. “It was something I was born around. I was on the road with my dad, always seeing different shows. It was something embedded in me from early on. I had grown up doing theater, had different bands and had always written music, but it was about 12 years ago I decided to take it seriously.
Q. Tell me about your musical inspirations and influences?
A. “In my songs I touch on classic country with elements of 80’s and 90’s sound that will never get old. When people hear them it will be nostalgic and they may not know why they are drawn to it. I grew up listening to all types of music like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Madonna and Michael Jackson. My all time favorite album I couldn’t live without was Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller. I’m all over the place in what I love and listen to, but I love writing country and telling the stories.
Q. Why is it important you develop your unique style, sound and brand in the music business?
A. “The best advice my father has ever given me was to always be myself and sound like myself because I’m the only Cherish Lee there is how important that stamp would be.”
Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring artist that make be struggling with getting their voice heard or having confidence in their unique style?
A. “This is a really hard business and sometimes when you have a creative brain it’s hard to latch onto the business side and make wise decisions. To be able to work both sides of that, trust your gut instinct and always keep going. If it’s your passion, that’s going to be the fire that ignites you to continue and be true to yourself.”
Q. What has been an impactful experience for you?
A. “This album is it for me. It’s a huge accomplishment. I was locked in contract for years, and when I was finally free, my husband and I had just had our son. I then set out on this journey to do it on my own. It was incredible to be in the studio, have my son with me and have the support from my family. To watch this unfold and come to life before my eyes…this album has been a special experience.”
Q. How do you work to balance your career and family life?
A. “They are so supportive and were understanding of when I was stuck in contract. When I was free from that, they have done nothing but uplift me. With balancing the time to be a wife, mom and launch a music career, I’m not sure how I’m doing it, but I am. When there is a will, there is a way and it’s a discussion that needs to be had with your family. I couldn’t selfishly go off and do this. We had just had our baby and respectfully I had to be mindful of what I was putting into this project. It was about $1,500 and everybody in Nashville thought I was nuts. We talk through everything, there is an open line of communication between my husband and myself.”
Q. What goals do you have for the near future and long-term?
A. “I’m going to try and figure out how to get through CMA’s. It’s going to be a whole new experience, If and when that happens, it will be a huge accomplishment because I am a true independent artist. I don’t have anyone backing me, it’s going to be a ton of hard work, but I’m ready for it. My fans a important, they are the soul and the heartbeat for my project coming out. Thank you for supporting this album.”
Lee just released her first single “Tequila Cowgirl,” along with her music video debut. It is about an all American girl- a hard worker; she’s got her head on straight, knows right from wrong and lives by that. She loves Jesus and tequila. She loves her animals and is thankful for what she has. While she doesn’t need a man and won’t share her bed with just anyone, she is looking forward to meeting the right one. Any guy would be considered lucky to bring her home to meet his mama, and every girl wants to be her best friend! The song has an intimate, nostalgic feel to it with a healthy dose of country music.
The full, aptly- named album, “Tequila Cowgirl” is scheduled for release in January 2018. It’s honest music that tells a story, and Lee’s voice conveys it beautifully, with all the attitude that her fans have come to expect from her. “It certainly is a home grown album and I could not have done it without my brilliant producer, Nate Wedan. I was respectfully allowed to be the artist and most importantly, a mother. No one flinched at my son coming to the studio with me and in many of the sessions, I’d be holding him while cutting vocals! This album is all heart,” says Lee.
“Tequila Cowgirl” is on YouTube, the Fall 2017 Spotify playlist and iTunes. Visit http://www.cherishleemusic.com/.
All photos credit to https://www.facebook.com/pg/CherishLeeMusic/photos/